We got the great news today that he's been accepted early! He's so excited, and we are obviously thrilled. I knew you'd get the best out of him and you did. The essay was so authentically him, and he felt wonderful about the process, the outcome, and himself. As always, we can't thank you enough for all of your guidance and support — for both of our children.
On Hillside's Coaching of College Applicants
— Words from Students and Parents —
I was blown away by what Hillside helped my son to accomplish. I wasn't privy to anything but the final work. The essay really captures his personality. I almost had tears reading it. He is not a kid who uses superlatives, but he raved about the assistance and advice. Hillside took the stress out of his writing of his Common Application essay, and I can't thank you enough for all your help.
I got in! I literally stared at the notification screen for a minute before I believed it was real. Thank you so much for all of your help, support, and encouragement in this challenging time for me. It meant a lot to know that you believed in me and in what I had to say. I will always laugh at that pessimistic kid who walked into your short seminar last summer and said he did not have anything to write about.
You have fantastic instincts about and empathy for students. I so applaud your sensitivity and keen skill at directing the writing and at drawing my son out to a place of believing in himself. You were a terrific guide — kind and gracious and supportive and instructive. And I liked the initial assignment of writing a series of compelling sentences, leaving the reader wanting to know more. Great project overall and great way to get to know a student.
Thank you so much for all your guidance! My college counselor spoke to admissions, and they said my essay was a large part of why I was accepted. My thanks to you are endless!
I've noticed after every session with you, it's like a heavy load has been lifted off him, as you've been able to provide him with insight and perspective that has enabled him to get over whatever stumbling block he was struggling with. You've been a wonderful coach. Your strength is not just mechanics, but more importantly, you have a gift for helping him to synthesize and structure his thoughts while allowing his voice to stay true.
He was so enthusiastic about his first session with you. He thought you were engaging, asking probing questions and able to extract additional ideas relatively easily. He left your office feeling confident and enthusiastic about the prospect of working on the essay!Cambridge, MA
Overwhelmed by so many stories and assertions about the “life and death” impact of essays in the application process, my creative and thoughtful daughter literally shut down. She was unable to think of where to start or even to put down more than a single opening sentence. We reached out to Hillside. Through their innovative, customized approach to help students create essays that are highly personal and honestly reflective, my daughter was able to write “her story” in a manner that echoed the deepest depths of her character and her accomplishments. I am confident that Hillside's support played a key role in her receiving acceptances and generous merit awards from her top college choices.
Allan is amazing. He helped both of my sons find their best stories to represent their strengths, and he guided them in crafting their essays to get these strengths across. He also taught them how to fine-tune their essays so that they were wonderful to read. Between sessions, my sons knew exactly what they needed to work on. The writing process felt very manageable to them. Allan is not only highly skilled in writing and teaching, but he is also a wonderful person. My sons actually looked forward to their essay-writing sessions! I cannot recommend Hillside Writing highly enough.
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We can't thank you enough for helping to unlock what's inside him and help him tell some of his “true story” for his college applications. You can’t know how helpful and motivating you were to him in all of this. Your conversations with him are the ones that really got him feeling good and inspired about showing himself. We wanted to let you know how deeply we have appreciated your generosity with your talent and insight.
New York, NY
I have heard several times that a college essay will hardly ever be the reason an applicant is rejected, but a well-written, powerful, personal essay can be the reason why an applicant is accepted to the college of his or her choice. After working with Allan, I believe my essay became one of the reasons — if not the reason — that I was accepted into my first-choice college. Before my first session, I did not think I had a story worth telling, but Allan found that story, and I envisioned my essay before I ever put any words on paper. I thought myself a strong writer before I met Allan, yet I never could have realized how much he could help me bring to life all that I hoped to say. Thank you, Allan, for all you taught me about both my writing and myself.
I was very concerned about my son's ability to remain motivated and focused to write a compelling college essay. He is a bright and thoughtful writer with executive-function challenges that can often make writing a daunting task. Allan has an extraordinary talent for demystifying the challenge of the essay and removing the pain from the process. He empowered my son to dig deep to choose a meaningful experience and write about it in a way that brought it to life for the reader. He is a coach, a mentor, and someone my son feels fortunate to have worked with and to know.Wellesley, MA
Our daughter had a meaningful experience with Hillside. Allan had a special ability to draw a story from her that provided an authentic window into her life and personhood. The stages to creating the essay were sufficiently broken down in scope and time. It was clear to us that our daughter was not overwhelmed, making steady progress in completing the essay and, more important, in knowing herself.
Hillside uses a completely individualized approach, encouraging the student to find a topic that has personal meaning. This made the writing less onerous because the topic was always authentic and relevant to who my daughter is as a young person and as a college applicant.
Allan has an excellent ability to inspire confidence with thoughtful feedback. He approached the work he did with my son as would an investigator. He made no conclusions or judgments, only inquiries and connections, and was able to elicit ideas with careful questions and critical listening.
The coaching couldn’t have been better. Once I had gotten everything out on the table, Allan helped me see what would work best in the essay. He let me talk. He gave me space. The questions he asked were just enough of a push to look further than I could have on my own. And once I had said it, I was able to see it.